At first, it sounds like the start of a terrible joke. (“An orphaned baboon and orphaned bush baby are together and …”) But surprisingly–not the case. At an animal orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, a pairing of an orphaned female yellow baboon and orphaned bush baby have been found in each other’s company.
When you consider the characteristics of the two primates, the pairing is even more bizarre: bush babies (also known as galagos) are nocturnal and arboreal, whereas, baboons are diurnal and terrestrial. Additionally, yellow baboons live in much larger social systems compared to the bush baby, which stays in a small group of its mother and other siblings. For both, however, socializing is critical at young ages (as tends to be the case in all primate species) as that is how infants learn important social characteristics in groups. Given that the bush baby has a yellow baboon as a “parent,” it will be interesting to see what kind of social characteristics it manages to display in the future.
Even more surprising is that bush babies have, at times, been prey for yellow baboons (Hausfater 1976). This suggests that later on, the twosome will have to be divided at some point. But, until then, we have the option of seeing a unique case of an animal odd couple.
More on this story can be found here.
Hausfater, G. (1976). Predatory behavior of yellow baboons. Behaviour, 56(1/2): 44-68.